Facebook Ad Observerlapowskyprotocol In 2023
The Facebook Ad Observer
The Ad Observer is a browser extension that automatically collects data about political ads users see on Facebook, including who is paying for them and where they are being served. It’s a tool that researchers use to uncover and report on paid disinformation campaigns on social media, such as Facebook.
Ad Observer was launched in December to help journalists, activists, and the public understand how Facebook’s advertising policies impact the political process. It allows people to search by state and identify trends in ad targeting, allowing them to uncover how politicians and corporations spend their money. It’s a crucial part of a broader strategy to reclaim democracy in the digital age.
Until now, there has been no public tool that allows people to independently monitor political ads on Facebook. There have been ad libraries, ad archivers, and ad-targeting research portals, but they are all based on user categories and come with severe privacy risks that require researchers to give up their findings to the company.
In the wake of a massive uproar over its lack of transparency, Facebook made a commitment to share more information about how political ads are targeted. It’s also created ad archives that contain detailed information about who funded an ad and when it ran. But it’s a tough nut to crack at scale.
The team behind Ad Observer, an initiative at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, have developed a browser extension that copies Facebook Ad Observerlapowskyprotocol and scrapes the data from them, including the name of the advertiser, the image or video they used, and the links to their profiles. This information is then shared with other researchers and the public, exposing Facebook’s opaque ad targeting practices.
It’s a project that has gathered thousands of volunteers, many of whom are members of the general public. It’s also been used by local journalists from Wisconsin to Utah to Florida.
What’s more, Ad Observer has been used to show that far-right misinformation is much more effective at engaging users than left-wing or center-right misinformation. This is a stark reminder that the platform isn’t just a collection of data but also an ecosystem where shadowy operators are pouring millions of dollars into skewed, partisan, and divisive content.
Despite this, Facebook has resisted allowing people to collect data about the platform’s political ad-targeting policies for good-faith research and journalism purposes, even in cases where it’s clear that there is a serious privacy risk. In its response to the Ad Observer fight, Facebook has cited a consent decree it signed with the FTC in 2016, which requires the company to protect users’ privacy. But the consent decree does not bar Facebook from creating exceptions for good-faith research in the public interest, such as reporting on the effect of targeted advertising on political campaign spending.
A company spokesperson told VICE News that the researchers had been informed months ago that their project would violate the terms of the company’s comprehensive privacy program. “Facebook is committed to protecting the privacy of all of its users and has long said that it will do everything in its power to keep the information they provide us confidential,” the company told VICE News in an email.
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How to Become a Facebook Ad Observer
Facebook is a powerful marketing platform that allows businesses to reach people through targeted ads. Ads are also used by political campaigns to target voters and spread misinformation. But many political ads aren’t labeled as such, and they can be a source of confusion for users.
Advertisers pay for the right to use ad targeting tools on Facebook to reach their intended audiences. They use data about their customers’ demographic information and location to determine which specific people will see their ads. These ads are then delivered to the targeted users in the form of news feed posts or in-app messaging.
However, researchers have found that the information that Facebook makes public about ad targeting is incomplete and sometimes inaccurate. In a recent study, NYU researchers showed that Facebook misidentified a huge number of political ads. They found that 83% of political ads were either never categorized as such or were misidentified by Facebook as such when they did.
In response to this lack of transparency, Edelson and her colleagues developed a tool called Ad Observer. It was a simple browser extension that would collect ad-targeting data from Facebook users as they browsed.
While the project was designed to protect user privacy, the browser extension did include information about which ads a user was seeing, the content of those ads, and what triggered them. When Facebook sent a cease-and-desist letter to the researchers in October, it said that the extension had violated its terms of service and that it should be shut down.
It’s not the first time that Facebook has tried to stop academic research on its platform. In 2014, after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook sent a cease-and-desist notice to researchers who had built a tool that allowed them to download the names and profile pictures of Facebook Pages that run political ads. This prompted an outcry from the public.
But this is the first time that Facebook has pushed back against a public interest study. That’s because it wants to preserve its surveillance-based ad targeting tools.
Unlike other platforms, Facebook doesn’t make it easy for researchers to access their ad-targeting data. Rather, it relies on ad-targeting algorithms and user categories that are constantly evolving and changing. The result is that users are categorized into hundreds of different tags, and these categories can cover sensitive interests or discriminate against particular groups of people.
As a result, researchers and journalists have struggled to make sense of the information they’ve collected. When they did, they uncovered the secrets behind how Facebook’s ad-targeting system works.
For all of the public outrage and scrutiny over the company’s ad-targeting policies, the truth is that those ad-targeting systems are actually very important for Facebook’s business. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible for ad-buying companies to target specific groups of users and sell them ads.
That’s why it’s essential for public interest research to have a way to access this ad-targeting information. But it’s also vital to make sure that it’s done in a way that respects user privacy and consent.Tags: Facebook Ad Observerlapowskyprotocol